Concerns about technology raised by the communications scholar Neil Postman
- In Chapter 4, Sternheimer discusses the concerns about technology raised by the communications scholar Neil Postman, who was fond of saying “technology giveth and taketh away.” What were Postman’s main concerns about technology’s impact on our ability to think? According to Sternheimer, in what ways was Postman “partly right”? Given that she was writing in 2013, does her argument (and/or Postman’s) hold up in 2018? In your mind, what has the internet age done to our critical thinking skills?
2. Discuss some of the scientific studies on television that have been conducted over the years. What were some of their key findings, and what seem to be some of their insights and limitations? Specifically, what links do these studies find between ADHD (and even autism) and television? Do we see similar issues surrounding internet access?
3. What problems does Sternheimer find with linking media to violence, and what approaches does she suggest as an alternative? What role might media play in making the public think that violence (and youth violence in particular) may be more common than it appears? Finally, what factors does Sternheimer suggest are better indicators for violence?
4. How has the media approached the relationship between violence and video games, particularly since the Columbine massacre in the 1990s? What issues does Sternheimer find with the argument that children are prone to imitating media violence? Finally, consider the following news report on a crime blamed on Grand Theft Auto. Is this another example of media hysteria surrounding video games, or do you believe such games require closer scrutiny?